Stephen KEVAN: Bringing a Wealth of Experience to FIRST

Introducing Stephen Kevan, one of the new Non-Executive Directors at FIRST. His addition to the Board promises to be an exciting chapter for the company, and here's why:

At the age of 16, Stephen made a bold choice: he dived straight into work, bypassing the traditional university path. 

With a strong marketing and entrepreneurial family background, it was evident early on that he wasn’t one to stick to conventions. 

His early career saw him in diverse roles, from the civil service in the North East to a surprising turn as a policeman in Bermuda, before setting his sights on the financial sector. 

He made impressive strides in the financial sector with institutions like AA Insurance Services and the Trustee Savings Bank (TSB) where he became one of the fastest moving individuals within the business with four or five different roles. His rise within TSB signalled his skill for spotting and seizing opportunities.

But Stephen’s story isn't just a list of impressive roles. It's a testament to the power of embracing change and finding opportunities in challenges. 

He's managed everything – from handling investment management within the Lloyds insurance market in the City of London, to weathering the '80s financial downturn. 

Every chapter of his journey reflects a knack for bouncing back and pioneering innovative approaches.

On the global front, Stephen's roles spanned influential markets. 

His leadership roles with Old Mutual International gave him a passport to markets in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and Latin America. 

His role with Barclays, where he created what is now Barclay’s Wealth, again gave him a global wealth perspective. 

Most recently, his role as Managing Director of SJP’s International Discretionary Investment Services saw him operating in Asia once again. 

These international experiences honed his adaptability and ensured he thrived in diverse cultural and economic landscapes. 

Having returned to the North East, in addition to his NED role with FIRST, he is also a co-founder and CEO of FinPact, the cluster management company for the North East Fintech sector.

Stephen Kevan

So, what does this mean for FIRST?

Stephen's entry into FIRST is more than just a new appointment. Given his profound understanding of business growth, innovative thinking, and with over 30 years of experience, he's set to bring fresh and relevant perspectives to the table. 

His emphasis on strategic thinking, especially in an age where the rush is often towards short-term gains, is sure to provide a refreshing direction. He champions the long-term client relationship and continual learning, advocating for real-world impact over mere actions.

FIRST’s emphasis on equipping individuals with top-tier enterprise skills, aligns seamlessly with Stephen’s vision. He's passionate about the North East and sees FIRST as a cornerstone in shaping the future of enterprise skills in the region. 

For Stephen it's not merely about training; it's about shaping minds, fuelling innovation, and laying the groundwork for sustainable growth. He believes enterprise skills go beyond launching startups. It's about holistic education, giving businesses the right tools and guiding them effectively.

Originally from the North East, his perspective on enterprise skills in the region is compelling. 

He doesn't just see a region catching up; he sees a region taking the lead. Stephen's dream for the North East? He envisages it buzzing with business startups, outshining national startup averages. 

He sees FIRST as a catalyst in this vision, nurturing not just business skills, but an entrepreneurial mindset in existing companies. FIRST's focus on people and genuine, long-lasting results sets it apart in his eyes.

But in all these, there's a tech-driven wave approaching. 

Stephen's insights about the evolving role of AI in training are food for thought. He ponders how FIRST can marry AI's efficiency with the irreplaceable human touch. 

Mention of ChatGPT, an AI platform, brings to the fore the balance between technology and human individuality. The AI evolution, according to Stephen, isn't a threat; it’s an opportunity.

While Stephen is keenly aware of the challenges his non-executive role might bring, he emphasises the need for shared values and collaboration.

A staunch believer in corporate governance, Stephen is clear about the weight of his new role. He's here to ensure FIRST stays on the straight and narrow, while also sharing his vast knowledge pool.

Away from the corporate world, Stephen is all about family. 

With his wife, Dee, he has three grown- up children, two of whom are based in Dubai. He’s a season ticket holder at Newcastle United, and he loves his dogs Norman and Fatboy. 

His message to the FIRST team? Simple but powerful: "Call on me anytime". His aspiration? To witness FIRST’s growth, fuelled by collective passion and his contributions.

In essence, Stephen’s addition to FIRST isn’t just exciting news—it’s a promise of new horizons and a brighter future for enterprise skills development in the North East. With Stephen on board as a Non-Executive Director, it’s clear: the future’s looking brighter for FIRST.

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